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Ranking high in search results is imperative of any blogger wanting to get his or her content shining above the rest. But, how do you get there if you are a small blog without getting your site penalized?
I’ve written hundreds of blog posts in the past where I was sure they would certainly gain some attention. At times, I wondered if anyone was even reading my content. The view count stayed low, or even at 0. How depressing!
What’s the point of spending all that time crafting the perfect blog post when no one ends up reading it?
Today, I’m going to touch on ways to boost your blog up in the search engine rankings without having to do anything that search engines would penalize.
Are you ready? Let’s go…
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is preparing your blog and its content to receive an increase in organic search results.
Why is SEO important?
SEO is critical to a blog’s success. Without proper ranking, your blog won’t get much traffic or attention. The opportunity is there right now to set your site up for SEO, so why not take advantage of all the tools available in front of you?
Ways to Rank Higher
Backlinks: Backlinks (inbound links) are simply links from one website to your own. Backlinks are important because they indicate the popularity of a website. The more backlinks your site has, the higher you can expect to rank in search results.
Outbound links: Just like backlinks, outbound links help draw attention to your post. Make sure the outbound links you include in your blog post are directly related to your content. Don’t make the mistake of using affiliate links for every link in your post. Google, as well as other search engines, will penalize your site for being too ad hungry.
Site speed: Site speed is probably one of those things bloggers don’t think about much when they are trying to SEO their website, but it has everything to do with it. Search engines like Google favor faster loading sites. Using a WordPress caching plugin can help your site respond and load faster. Here are three popular caching plugins for WordPress.
Interested in testing your site speed? Try WP Engine’s free test!
Comment on other blogs: A simple and effective way to drive traffic and search engine results upward is to simply read other blogs and comment on them. When you do, not only are you establishing yourself as a niche expert, but you are leaving a digital footprint (name, URL, email address, etc).
Write long and detailed content: Search engines favor sites that offer long and detailed content. I read not too long ago that to really offer the best content, your posts should be no shorter than 1,000 words. Writing longer posts also gives you a chance to interlink to other posts within your blog. The longer a reader stays on your site, the better your bounce rate becomes. Good bounce rates lead to higher search results.
Write high quality content: Along with long and detailed, your content should provide high value to readers. Combine the length of your post with the quality, and you’ve got a recipe for success. Include relevant keywords (and repeat them word-for-word) throughout the post.
Include keywords in titles: When formulating a title for your latest blog post, make a conscious effort to include keywords. Google loves short titles with keywords directly related to the content.
Images: Images help draw the reader into your content and give their eyes a break from the text. Blog posts that include at least one image rank better than those that don’t have any images at all. Include alt text keywords that describe the image and the site content. Although search engines can crawl images for content, they can only do so if there are alt tags. Otherwise, they are blind to images.
Include keywords in permalinks: A permalink is the URL to your blog post. If you work in WordPress, it’s very easy to change. At the top of your post editor, you’ll see the option to change it. You can also automate how WordPress sets the permalinks, but I usually override it and create my own. By putting keywords in your permalink, you’ll increase the chance a search engine crawls your page should it be a highly searched keyword.
Use a plugin: For WordPress, there really isn’t anything that compares to Yoast. The whole purpose of Yoast is to optimize website. Give it a try and watch your search traffic increase!
Incorporate long-tail keywords: Long-tail keywords are easy to insert into your content. They are simply more specific keywords. For example, “cars” is a short keyword while “new cars for 2018” is a long-tail keyword. You can get a hint of the types of long-tail keyword by testing them in Google search’s auto complete feature in the search box.
Refresh your content: That post you wrote a year ago is probably still relevant, right? Well, maybe, but there is probably information within the content that can be updated. Search engines prefer fresh content. The more updated you keep your post, the friendlier your site will look to them.
Fix broken links: I’ve talked about this one in earlier posts I’ve written, such as How to Boost Page Views on Your Blog. Broken links lead to a black hole. They also lead to reader frustration. What you want is for your readers to stay on your site as long as possible and come back for more. If you are linking to internal or external sites, always perform regular checks to make sure links still work as intended. I recommend a free tool called Broken Link Check.
Write guest posts: Many bloggers do this while others don’t. I’m closer to the ones who don’t. But, think about it. The more you put your content out there on other blogs, the more you are linking back to your own site. This activity actually increases site ranking because your links are becoming popular. So, if you haven’t considered guest posting in the past, maybe it’s time to start. Want to guest post on Go Ask Your Daddy? Here are my guidelines.
Use Google Keyword Planner: Are you familiar with Google Keyword Planner? It’s a nifty tool created by Google to help you develop strong keywords that drive organic search traffic. The tool itself is nestled within Google AdWords, so make it a part of your regular process to incorporate its suggestions.
Ready to Go?
I hope that these quick tips will help you on your way to better search engine rankings. Are there any tips I didn’t include you’d like to see in this post? Sound off in the comments below and I’ll be happy to add!